If you are looking for a last-minute gift idea, or just like to read, I highly recommend Matthew Amster-Burton’s book Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater.
I was hooked from the opening:
“My daughter’s first meal was supposed to be, oh, let’s say organic carrots pureed with homemade chicken broth in a hand-cranked food mill. That’s what everyone wants for their kid, right? I swear I was totally planning a feast of that nature when fate intervened and a doughnut fell on her head.”
This book is filled with hilarious anecdotes about raising and feeding a baby. His daughter is now five, so the stories range from life with an infant to the daily interactions with a toddler. The best part about this book is its refreshing honesty and sense of humor. Amster-Burton never talks down to his readers and never claims to have all of the answers when it comes to raising children or dealing with picky eaters.
Some readers may be shocked by the fact that the author throws out all of the “rules” associated with feeding babies, including waiting 3-7 days in between introducing new foods, and avoiding high-allergenic foods. He feeds his daughter everything from sushi to spicy enchiladas to pad thai with peanuts. All before her first birthday!
This book also contains recipes, which, although interesting to read, are for wanna-be-chefs and “foodies” and contain complicated ingredients that can only be found at Asian markets. However, the author is also a big fan of boxed macaroni and cheese and frozen potstickers, so he never alienates his readers.
The writing is so charming and engaging that even people without kids would love this book, but if you’ve ever grappled with what to feed your child, or if you live with a picky eater, this book is for you.